View Full Version : Are Black Bears Attracted To, Or Repelled By Human Urine?

Speck Lover
02-06-2010, 11:29 PM
After reading the thread "Campsite 24-Bear" with much interest, my mind wondered to the question, are black bears attracted to, or repelled by human urine? I have read two schools of thought on the subject. One suggests that the smell of human urine acts as attractant to black bears because they are interested in anything that smells interesting, plus the salt factor. The other school of thought is that human urine acts as a deterrent to nosy black bears. I would find it interesting to know some of your thoughts on the subject.

02-06-2010, 11:54 PM
I would venture to guess that they are indifferent to human urine for the most part or possibly deterred by human smells at the very least. If a wild bear catches a whiff of human urine out in the woods I doubt it is going to start heading in that direction because it is attracted by it. Now maybe some bear might be curious but most in the backcountry don't seem to be actively seeking out contact with humans unless they have been fed and in that case they are coming for the food. On the contrary most get moving as quick as they can in the opposite direction as soon as they hear or smell people.

That being said I have had many close encounters with them including one near #24 this year that wasn't so scared. However 9 times out of 10 they turn tail and run away as fast as they can.

Jim Casada
02-07-2010, 09:06 AM
Speck Lover--In general, any scent connected with humans will send black bears the other way. But that doesn't count in the Park because their protected status, along with interaction with humans or around humans without any harm has changed things. But let a bear smell urine (or other human scent say 50 miles away in Graham County, where hunting is deeply ingrained in the culture) and I'll assure you they will suddenly recall the fact there is urgent bruin business two counties away. Or, to put it another way, you don't have to worry about bears in your campsite when far up Big Snowbird Creek.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

02-07-2010, 02:07 PM
I don't have any scientific data one way or the other, but I still mark my territory like any male dog or tomcat when camping in the backcountry:biggrin:

02-07-2010, 04:28 PM
Depends on where the human is from. If they are from TN, NC, SC, GA, AL, or KY, then the bear is indifferent. However, if from another state especially the west coast the bear mistakes it for the pheromones of a sow in heat. I would highly recommend that one not urinate in the woods until the end of their trip for their safety.

Forgive me, I couldn't help myself. :biggrin:

02-07-2010, 05:40 PM
Lol, yeah west coast guys smell like honey. Sweet and soft.

02-07-2010, 06:08 PM
I agree with Flyman. I usually go 1 on everything that is mine.

02-07-2010, 11:32 PM
I am with GrouseMan, but my wife got really upset about it ;)

02-08-2010, 02:58 AM
Been reading about your bear stories and thought I would share a couple of mine.

A couple of years ago my father, who works in a grocery store, told me about a woman who came into the store to buy some canned gravy. She than proceded to tell him that her sister (or someone) had told her to buy some gravy to feed the bears in the smokies, they loved gravy. I belive dad tried to talk her out of that one.

I remember when I was a kid a bear came into the metcalf bottoms picnic area and ruined our lunch. This was prob around 1987-89 somewhere in there. So I know that bears have had a problem with becoming human fed since before then. The bear ran us off of our table and proceded to dig into what would have been our lunch.

A few years ago a myself and a good friend went camping up on rich mountain (don't remember the site # just that it was full of roots and what appeared to be a adequate water source on the map was a tiny trickle of water down a steep hill 200 yards away from camp) we had a good evening and were awoke at daybreak by the sound of a bear playing around our camp. We had all our stuff hung between trees way out of a bears reach and had done all the other bearproofing stuff but he was there nonetheless. We peered out of the tent through the little webbing at the top of the dome at him for what seemed like an eternity before he left. Finally when he did we got out of the tent and started cooking breakfast. It wasn't long till he came running back toward our camp, he got about 50 or so yards from us when he saw us and stopped dead in his tracks. He stared at us for a sec and then bolted away so fast you'd thought we'd just peppered him with a 12 gauge. Strange creatrues these bears.

02-08-2010, 11:15 AM
Hey MikeRob I think you are talking about cs # 5 from your description of the water source or lack thereof. Its the former site of the rich mtn. shelter. I saw 5 bears up there last time I was there in October:


02-09-2010, 04:26 PM
Next time one of us is at a zoo, lets try this theory out. Just unzip at the bear exhibit and spray away! Then have your friends take notes and see what happens.... :biggrin:
I know they LOVE Milk duds